Ordering Food in Self-Isolation

Janyn is a third year Dietetics student at UBC.

Self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic requires individuals to avoid contact with others for 14 days. This means that if you’re in self-isolation, you shouldn’t be going out to grocery stores or restaurants to get food. During this time, you can explore food delivery options including ordering from restaurants, through apps, or ordering groceries online. More information on self-isolating can be found here.

Ordering Food

When ordering food, it is important to think about nutritional value, taste, affordability, and sustainability.

Nutritional Value

  • It is important to eat balanced meals as often as you can. Canada’s Food Guide suggests making your plate ½ fruits and vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ whole grains. Choose meals that align with these recommendations as often as you can. 
  • Add a side of steamed veggies or salad to your order.  
  • Order sauces on the side and add a small amount yourself.
  • Skip the deep fried foods, like spring rolls and French fries.  
  • Ask for whole grains (e.g. brown rice).
  • If ordering pizza, get one loaded with veggies and skip the processed meats like pepperoni and salami. 
  • Take out portions are often large, split your meal into two and you have lunch for the next day as well.
  • If ordering groceries, check out this blog post on pantry staples to have in your home. Having these items around can help you make easy and healthy meals.


  • Choose foods you enjoy eating or try out a new dish that looks appetizing. Trying new foods and recipes (if you have an equipped kitchen) can help break up the monotony of self-isolation.


  • Ordering take-out can be expensive. Many apps have deals or coupons online that can help save you money.  Be sure to look out for these! 
  • When ordering groceries online, be sure to check out the weekly flyer for foods that are on sale. Try planning your grocery list around the on-sale items.


  • Support your local neighborhood! Try to order food from restaurants that are closer to you rather than far away. This means delivery vehicles can limit their environmental impact.  
  • When ordering food from restaurants, ask for no cutlery and instead use your utensils at home and skip the straws. 
  • When you are done with your take-out containers, ensure that they are recycled appropriately. Avoid restaurants that don’t have compostable or recyclable packaging. 
  • Choose foods made from sustainable ingredients, like plant-based foods or sustainable seafood with the Ocean Wise designation.


There are many apps available that allow you to order foods from restaurants in your area for a small delivery fee. Some apps include

If possible, opt for contactless delivery where the food is left at your doorstep. If that is not possible, try to maintain a 2m (6ft) distance from the deliverer and wear a mask.

Grocery Stores

Many grocery stores in Vancouver currently offer online grocery ordering and delivery for a small fee. Simply browse the website and add your food into your cart, choose a date and time for delivery that works for you and complete your order. Here are some of the grocery stores that offer this service:

Alternatively, you can ask friends or family in the area who are not self-isolating to pick up groceries for you and drop them off outside your room or home. 

Meal Kits

If you have access to a kitchen or meal preparation tools, meal kit delivery may be an option for you. There are a variety of companies that offer meal kits which include all the ingredients to make a dish, you simply just cook the meal! Some of these companies include:

Check out this resource for reviews and discounts on some meal kit services. For more information on food and nutrition tips during self-isolation see this resource